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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Borderline: The Illusion of Insanity by Florence St. John is a non-fiction memoir of what it is like to live and grow up in a dysfunctional family. Borderline delves into inter-generational dysfunction in a family in which mental illness forms a part of the dynamic. Florence writes about herself, her daughter, and her parents, sister, cousins, and how they all form a part of the larger picture. The book starts with an introduction by Florence to her daughter's behavior in school, and then discusses her personal and family issues that include personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, co-dependent personality disorder, etc. and how she has learnt over the years to understand and love not only her family members, but also herself.
Although the title suggests this may be a book strictly about borderline personality disorder or BPD, Borderline: The Illusion of Insanity is actually a memoir about family dysfunction, and how trauma and mental illness are inevitably a part of the dynamic. The writing style in the book is easy to read and is written in layperson terms. In fact, as Florence herself states, this book is strictly to be referred to as a personal memoir and not as a textbook on any mental illness because Florence herself is not a professional. The book certainly proves once again how environmental factors play an even more important role in the development of any mental illness; more so than genetic factors in most cases. For anyone looking to read someone’s personal experience of personality disorders and family dysfunction, this may be an interesting read.